Parents, teachers protest against school attacks; teachers threaten to strike

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Teachers and parents dressed in black and white Monday in support of a St Agnes Primary School teacher who was beaten by two parents last week; and they protested outside the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court in the morning as one of the teachers who was attacked faced a criminal charge.

Heavily armed Police were at the scene trying to control the crowd as the parents and the teacher in the matter appeared before a Magistrate.

The teachers are peeved at the fact that their colleague who they say is the victim in the matter, was also charged with a criminal offence.

“They were brought here today at the court and the teacher was charged and we are here in support and the man [the parent] was placed on two $10,000 bail, one for common assault and one for breaching the peace.

“Our teacher is traumatized; she came out here in tears,” General Secretary of the Guyana Teacher’s Union Coretta McDonald told the media.

Some of the protesters outside the court

Teachers across the country were encouraged to dress in black and white Monday to stand in solidarity against the abuse and violence towards teachers and also their dissatisfaction with security measures at schools.

McDonald told the News Room at the protest that the children of the parents who abused the teacher will be removed from the school immediately.

McDonald further said that teachers will also go on strike.

General Secretary of the Guyana Teacher’s Union Coretta McDonald

“Never again will another teacher be assaulted by any parent and we have decided that those children will be removed from that school immediately, outside of that, the teachers will withhold their services,” McDonald said.

Things got heated outside the court when protesters accused the Police ranks of protecting the parents who were charged.

“We want to know why all of these policemen turning up at the court with a whole lot of guns,” McDonald said.

Regional Commander, Assistant Commissioner Edward Thomas told reporters that the Police were called to the court because the protesters were behaving disorderly.

“We are here doing our work to protect citizens of this country and if the people here are behaving disorderly we have to protect the people in the court,” the Police Commander said.

Regional Commander, Assistant Commissioner Edward Thomas

However, while Police ranks tried to get protesters to calm down in front of the court, the defendants were reportedly whisked away by Police through one of the side gates.

One of the parents told the News Room that she is in full support of the abused teacher.

“I am supporting the teachers, I had children that went to school and that never ever happen in life, which any parent go into a school and beat a teacher.

“I think the ministry should put strict [security] at the gates so that when parents come they must lodge what they are going in for,” the parent said.

The Ministry of Education and the Union both pledged their support to pursue legal action against the parents who assaulted two teachers.

The incident at the St Agnes Primary School in Church Street, Georgetown stemmed from a disagreement over the payment of medical expenses for an injured student.

In a widely circulated video on Facebook, it shows the teacher being beaten and stripped almost naked.

In November 2019 another Grade One teacher was assaulted in her classroom at the Winfer Gardens Primary School by a parent.

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